Keep your snow out of the road

With the winter season upon us, we finally have seen some real winter weather, and, when the snow sticks around, many people question the snow-removal abilities of some homeowners. Snow removal is probably one of every homeowner’s dreaded tasks, but it is necessary to live life in the wintertime in northern Michigan. Almost all homeowners have other things they would rather be doing, and, sometimes, are in a hurry to get the snow removed from their driveway.

The Alpena County Road Commission reached out to me and expressed their concern already this year.

Road commissions across northern Michigan see snow pushed into the roadway as citizens plow their driveway across to the ditch or snow-blowing the snow into the roadway. Citizens often comment about their neighbor plowing the snow into the road or in the city limits about their neighbor who snow-blows their snow into the road, so the city plow trucks take it further down the road.

Any time you are depositing snow into the roadway, you are breaking the law.

We have probably all seen snow left in the road from privately owned snowplows and snowblowers. There are times when this may happen accidentally, but that person removing snow should make their best effort to avoid leaving huge piles of snow in the roadway.

There is a section in the Michigan Vehicle Code that addresses this issue very concisely. MCL 257.677a discusses “Obstruction of safety vision by removal or deposit of snow, ice, or slush prohibited.”

Section (3) states, “A person shall not deposit, or cause to be deposited, snow, ice, or slush onto or across a roadway or the shoulder of a roadway in a manner that obstructs the safety vision or the driver of a motor vehicle other than off-road vehicles.”

So, as you are removing your snow, you must be sure all drivers are able to see over or around your piles to be compliant with this law or you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fines/costs of approximately $150.

Section (4) states, “A person shall not deposit, or cause to be deposited, snow, ice or slush on any roadway or highway.”

As Section (4) states, at no time shall you deposit snow, ice, or slush in the road, which, in turn, means you cannot plow the snow from your driveway across the road and into the ditch.

It means you cannot throw the snow from your driveway along the curb for the plow trucks to push further down the road.

If you are found guilty of this, you could be cited with a civil infraction, and fines/costs of approximately $150.

So, as you clear your driveways for the rest of the winter season, make sure not to add any more snow to the roads.

It causes a traffic hazard and is against the law.

Ashley Simpson is a Community Service Trooper for the Michigan State-Police Alpena Post. If you have a question for Trooper Simpson, you can email her at asktroopersimpson@gmail.com or mail them to Ask A Trooper, MSP-Alpena Post, 3283 W. Washington Ave., Alpena, Michigan, 49707.


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